Which is the better suspense story, “The Red Room” or “The Landlady”
- Pages: 8
- Word count: 1985
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“The Red Room” is about a man who goes to a haunted castle and talks to 3 old people. A lady, a man with a withered arm and a man with a shade. They warn him that ghosts exist. He tells them that he has lived for 28 years and never seen a ghost. He then offers to stay in the red room for one night. The three old people ask him if he really wants to. Especially this night of all nights. He tells them yes and they tell him how to get there. On his way there, the man notices things around him and starts to feel a bit nervous. He notices the way the moon shines on the walls and the dust.
He makes his way to the red room and enters nervously. Once he gets in there, he quickly locks the door. The man starts examining the room to make sure there’s nothing there. Once he examined the room, he started to feel nervous for no reason. Soon after he lit a match and noticed that two candles behind him had gone out. As he went to light them again the other candles extinguished one by one. All the lights were out but the room was still lit. It was a red light from the fire. He couldn’t light the candles back again n the room was totally dark.
The man then was looking for the door and hit himself on the bed. This was followed by him hitting another piece of furniture and then he fell over and was unconsciousness. When he woke up, he saw the man with the withered arm. The man asks what had happened. The man with the withered arm told him and asked him if he now believes if the castle is haunted. The man answers yes. The lady and the man with the withered arm ask what ghost it was. The man told them that it was no ghost and that it was the fear of darkness. The man with the shade tells them that he knew it was darkness because darkness is always there.
The Landlady” is about a man called Billy. He goes to Bath to find some business. In Bath he looks for somewhere to stay. Billy drawn towards a ‘bed and breakfast’ and decides to have a look. The landlady opens the door and invites him in. They talk about the price and Billy chooses to stay. The landlady shows Billy his room. She then tells him to sign the guest book downstairs. Billy does this and notices two other names in the guest book. Christopher Mulholland and Gregory W. Temple. He started to think where he had heard those names before because they rang a bell.
He says one of the names out aloud and the landlady hears him. The landlady talks about them and then Billy tells her that he recognises the names as a pair but he cant remember from where. As Billy says this, the landlady asks him to sit next to her and have a cup of tea. Billy carries on talking about the names. He then remembered where he had seen the name Christopher Mulholland, In a newspaper. He tells the landlady that he was a schoolboy that was on a trip. When he tells the landlady this, she interrupts him and asks about the tea.
He carries on about this and then the landlady tells him that he is still at the bed and breakfast, and so is Gregory Q. Temple. Billy then spots a parrot that has been stuffed. He asks the landlady who stuffed it. She then replies that she had. The landlady offers him another cup of tea but Billy declines. He then asks her if any other guests had been to the bed and breakfast for the last 2 years. She replies “No, my dear, only you. ” The title “The Red Room” is a lot more exciting. It makes you think about what the red room is. It is more eye catching and makes you want to read it.
However the title “The Landlady” suggests that the story is not going to be a suspense story but a nice happy story. It doesn’t give any excitement or make you think. Overall I think that “The Red Room” is a better title for a suspense story. The opening of “The Red Room” is the man, who is narrating, speaking to the old people. He reveals some of his character in the first line. “It will take a very tangible ghost to frighten me. ” This shows that he is slightly arrogant. Also in the beginning, the old people repeat phrases. E. g. the man with the withered arm repeats “It’s your own choosing.
I think that this helps to build the suspense. It makes you believe that the old people know what is going to happen but won’t tell the man exactly what that is. It also gives the reader a feel that something bad is going to happen. When the second old man arrives it makes the reader think that the situation is quite serious. It also builds up the suspense in to what the old man is going to do or say or why he is there. Although the second old man takes a while to talk, this doesn’t ruin the suspense and has a good effect. The opening of “The Landlady” is mainly describing the setting.
One of the ways it does this is by saying, “The air was deadly. ” This is a slower type of suspense. It sets the atmosphere before the actual story starts. This is a less direct way of creating suspense but works just as well. Overall I think that the two openings are very different. Although “The Red Room” is a bit slow, it’s direct and attention grabbing. Moreover “The Landlady” is equally as attention grabbing but doesn’t give the story away. It’s a subtler opening to the story. The opening for “The Red Room” is a suited for action suspense and “The Landlady” has an opening that is better for mystery suspense.
Both of these openings are very good in creating suspense but I find that “The Landlady” is more common so that takes away some suspense. I find the opening of “The Red Room” a slightly more to my liking. The suspense in “The Red Room” is continuous. It is almost in everything that happens and does get a bit tedious and boring. However “The Landlady” has got suspense when it is needed and has a better balance. In “The Red Room” there are no names for the characters. This is effective with the old people but not with the man. Because the old people don’t have any names this doesn’t make the reader feel anything for them.
This also has the same effect on the man. Because he has no name the reader does not care as much for the character. In “The Landlady”, some of the characters are given names. The characters with the names are the good characters E. g. Billy Weaver, Christopher Mulholland and Gregory W. Temple. This makes the reader have a slight connection with them. Also the landlady hasn’t been given a name. This is so that the reader doesn’t relate to the character and it helps create more suspense. In “The Red Room” there is some repetition of phrases. “It’s your own choosing” and “This night of all nights”.
These help with the tension and suspense because it makes the reader think of what might happen next. In “The Red Room”, the man also describes how he sees objects as he walks past them in the dark. He uses words like “shadowy” and “rustle”. As he sees things he describes them. This creates a dark and mysterious atmosphere, which helps create tension and suspense. Once the man gets into the red room he has strange encounters. As the first candle goes out he says, “Did I do that myself in a flash of absent-mindedness”. This shows that the man is worried and slightly confused.
This also makes the reader feel the same way. Throughout “The Red Room” the man gets scared over the things that aren’t there. E. g. the dark and being alone. This adds a sense of insecurity and also creates suspense. In “The Landlady”, when Billy is rings the bell, the landlady is at the door straight away. This doesn’t create any tension but does create minor confusion. Another thing that creates confusion is the fact that there had been no guests for 3 years and the last 2 still hadn’t checked out. All of this confusion does create a good deal of suspense.
Although in “The Landlady” there is very little explained, this does add to the confusion and suspense. Overall I think that “The Red Room” has more suspense, but the suspense in “The Landlady” is balanced better and is more affective. The old people in “The Red Room” are quite scary and mysterious. The man uses words like “pale” and “old, wrinkly faces” to describe them. The reader could also take fear as a character. Fear is the thing that the old man sees throughout the night. Fear is what follows the man and what he can’t see. This is a very good character in a suspense story and does build up tension.
In “The Landlady”, Billy is young, curious but naive. This makes the reader feel some sorrow for him. Also the landlady is quite a strange character. At first she seems like a pleasant old lady, but as the story goes on, the little things she says and does build up suspense. The way that the landlady looks at Billy and compliments him does make her a suspicious character. Also the stuffing of the animals that she does makes her a bit mysterious. I think that both of these stories have very good characters and I couldn’t choose a favourite.
The stories have good and bad characters and these compliment each other in both stories. The ending of “The Red Room” ends all of the suspense and tells the reader what the man was experiencing. It also shows change in the character of the man, he is not as naive. I feel that the man does get what he deserves and is taut a lesson. This makes him wiser and is a good end to a story. The way the story ends, it doesn’t leave any suspense and explains everything. In the ending of “The Landlady” the last line is spoken by the landlady and she says “No, my dear, only you.
This is an ending which makes the reader think what’s going to happen to Billy or what the landlady is going to do. I much prefer this ending rather than the ending of “The Red Room. ” This is because it can play with the reader’s imagination. The story can end how the reader wants it to end. It doesn’t justify anything that has happened in the story and leaves the story as suspense. Both of these stories are very similar and very different but the one I prefer is “The Landlady”. This is mainly because of its characters and ending. The character of the landlady is quite unique.
First she seems very pleasant but as the story goes on the readers can make up their own mind on the landlady. As the story grows so do the characters. The reader feels more sympathetic for Billy and gets more suspicious about the landlady. I feel that this is a very good formula for a suspense story. Also in the ending of “The Landlady” it isn’t a complete ending. It leaves the reader wanting to read more even though the story has finished. It’s like a cliff hanger ending and I feel that it works well with this story. To sum up, the better suspense story is “The Landlady”.